MONTVILLE, NJ – The Montville Township Committee held a special Saturday meeting on April 7 at which they discussed their goals for the year.

Township Administrator Victor Canning and the township committee had put together a list of possibilities at a previous special Saturday session held January 13, 2018.

Speeding continues to be a problem in the township, one which Committee Member Richard Cook said was probably the biggest complaint he receives as an elected official. A stop sign was installed at the corner of East Cheryl Road and Konner Road that has a rim of blinking LED lights and residents had mixed reactions to it, Canning said, but the intersection had at least 16 years’ worth of history of drivers ignoring the stop sign at the corner. He said a more expensive alternative was a sign that only blinks when a car approaches. Mayor Richard Conklin said the residents of a neighborhood where such a sign might be installed should be notified. Conklin also wanted to discuss Towaco center, where speed limit signs are inconsistent. One sign by Sea Breeze says the limit is 40, whereas one on the other end says 35, he said. The committee wanted a letter sent to the county asking for a reduced limit near the Towaco center/train station area. Cook said the Traffic Bureau was removed from the police department at one point but he had disagreed with that decision, and Committee Member June Witty said maybe it should be put back in. Conklin said it should be a topic of discussion.

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Bike and walking paths are a goal for the township because the “township owns a lot of land that could be made into bike paths,” Conklin said. Camp Dawson to the area behind Red Barn Plaza is open space land, according to Conklin. Canning said there had been interest in making a bike park behind the first aid squad by the department of public works.

“It would be nice to utilize open space that we own,” Conklin said.

The committee agreed to ask the open space committee about uses for the land.

Witty was interested in increasing the use of the youth center at the community park. She said one problem the kids had stated for leaving was that they’re hungry and “they want a meal.” Snacks had been provided in the past, she said. Currently a small group comes in following Lazar Middle School dismissal but then within an hour only three or four are left, she said. The idea of bringing food trucks to the parking lot had been discussed by the Drug Awareness Council, and she said other towns sponsor classes such as cooking, pottery and karate. She suggested that the DAC could work with various school groups such as R.E.A.C.H. and Peers As Leaders.

“Morris Cares, [a drug avoidance program], had a program ready to start at the youth center, but never received a start date, so now Montville is at the bottom of the list,” Witty said.

She said positive peer pressure and parent support are needed, and that the school groups should work with Youth Center Director Chris Ziolkowski and Director of Youth Services Nancy Mertz to come up with ideas to attract kids to come to the youth center.

Communication has been designated as a high priority by the township, both by administration and by the committee. Member Matt Kayne said public input should also be sought regarding changes to the town’s website. Canning encouraged residents to sign up for alerts through the township website (click here: Notify Me) or by using the township’s mobile phone app (Read about the app here.). Residents can sign up to receive alerts about agendas being posted on the website, alerts from administration, news flashes, senior activities, and health announcements. Please note, this is not the same as receiving Nixle alerts. Changes to the website have already been made since this meeting. Also, a permanent LED marquee-style sign will be installed in front of the police station to keep residents informed, but this will not occur until the summer.

The township will be installing $100,000 worth of new street-name signs throughout the township, evenly divided among the three portions of the township. However, this includes the amount of money spent on last year’s signs.

Also included on the list of goals was revising the Master Plan, which kicked off at the April 12 Planning Board meeting. The Master Plan is the document which dictates zoning and guides the growth for the township. It contains several elements, which are sections that cover specific areas like traffic, the Towaco center, etc. TAPinto Montville will keep readers apprised of this process.

The playground will be renovated this year. TAPinto Montville will be providing more details on that project.

Township officials had debated but ultimately rejected the idea of hiring a full-time planner. The former planner, Ryan Conklin, left his position early in 2017 and the secretary to the land use department has been handling the administrative functions as she usually did. Conklin’s functions are being sub-contracted to the town’s usual planning company, Burgis Associates. The land use department handles the zoning board and planning board.

The township is working on an ordinance regarding demolition by neglect, in order to protect historic buildings. They have not provided any drafts to the public nor commented in public about the drafts. The Historic Preservation Review Commission will be collaborating on the ordinance according to Mayor Conklin, but that committee has not posted an agenda since January nor has it had a regular meeting since last May according to the township website.

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